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Why You Can’t Reduce Time to Hire By Hand

SmartDreamers Team
6 min. read

Today’s heavily candidate-focused job market means recruiters are under constant pressure to get the right people in the right seats. The coinciding rise of data-driven recruiting is enabling more progress on this front than ever before, with a concurrent explosion in new metrics to prove that progress.


That’s not to say that the old stand-bys are going away. Far from it, in fact. Time-to-Hire is one such metric. It’s been a mainstay of recruiting and HR since the field was invented and it’s here to stay.


What has changed is how this metric is measured and the standard by which the results are judged. All of this opens a new question, one that we hope to help you find an answer to today.


How can you reduce time to hire if you don’t have the data to back up your decisions?

Define Your Metrics


Before we jump into solving this conundrum, let’s take a moment to be sure we’re on the same page when it comes to the KPIs that go into Time-to-Hire. This is going to look different for every company, so a general run down might look something like this:


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1. When does the clock start?

Are you measuring time to hire. from first contact (chat, social media, etc)? Or from application submission? Or from a more custom point in time specific to your HR process?


Key to an accurate measure is having this starting point nailed down, and documented so everyone knows where to start.


2. What steps are included?


What does your candidate journey look like? Do you have it mapped out and available as a resource for your recruiters?

Great, now include the stages and steps of this journey that you’re including in your bespoke time to hire. metric.



3. And when does the clock stop?


When an offer is extended? Accepted? First day in seat?

Again, having this documented for all to see as a guideline will go a long way in solidifying and quantifying your results.


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Keys to Lowering Time-to-Hire


Time to hire is such a key metric, it’s been studied quite a bit. And all of those studies have agreed on a couple of fundamental aspects to successfully lowering your overall time to hire:



People love getting emails addressed to them by name. They love it when the information in those emails is succinct, relevant, and helpful. In terms of your candidate journey, that means that an automated workflow built in to handle the sending of this sort of messaging is crucial.


Constant contact


Nurture your candidates - send updates on a regular schedule, or when a candidate hasn’t been contacted in a set period of time. Even if you don’t have updates specific to their application, sending something with company updates, or team information can keep the candidate engaged and looking forward to hearing from you again.




Set expectations, then exceed them. Manually sending all these emails and setting reminders for each candidate you have in the pipeline would be excruciatingly time-consuming. Which leads us directly to the next piece of the time to hire puzzle—automation.


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Automation Can Get You There


A solution that includes automation features is a critical piece to launching a successful effort to lower your time to hire. All of that personalization, constant (and consistent) messaging, and reliable follow-through would be more than a full-time job for any recruiter.


Introducing automated workflows to the process, however, takes much of that load off your human team and allows them to get back to what they do best:

- interacting with candidates one-on-one,

- working with hiring managers to craft the best job descriptions possible,

- and just generally rocking the rest of the recruitment process, giving your candidates the best experience possible.

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Don’t Neglect Your Talent Pool


Recruitment marketing is a growing trend in the HR world, and for good reason. Building and maintaining a solid talent pool full of quality potential candidates is critical in this job market.


- Being able to draw from this pre-selected and sorted pool of talent when hiring time comes around cuts T2H like nothing else.

- You don’t even have to post the job opening on public boards, but can directly email the description to half-dozen people you already know are interested and qualified, just think of the savings you can wrack up.

- Use an integrated process that includes your ATS, to  keep those quality candidates engaged so when you have an opening to offer up, they’re primed and ready to jump in.



Ultimately, it’s nurturing this talent pool that stands to have the greatest impact on your T2H numbers. What better way to shorten a process than to cut steps out of it wholesale? 

Data is the Connecting Thread


How to accomplish all this wizardry? What is the connecting thread that runs through this streamlined hiring process? Data, of course.


Not only in terms of auto-filling candidate info for those personalized emails we talked about earlier, but also in helping determine where process bottlenecks, and building the new processes that will eliminate them.


- Is your application process slow and kludgy, with dropped applications littering the way? Optimize for mobile and cut the number of steps to submission in half and your numbers, and candidates will thank you.


- Is your scheduling tool (or lack thereof) the problem? Implement a mobile-centric scheduling solution so your candidates can read and respond to requests from the device they’re likely using most during the day, their phone. 


- Or is your #1 delay just waiting around for a response to your last email? Try text-based recruiting options. Or consider an in-channel chatbot on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Meeting your audience where they are can drastically cut response times.


Whatever the specifics your company is dealing with, the fact remains—to cut T2H in real, tangible ways, you’re best served by implementing automation where possible. Whether it’s in order to stay in touch with applicants all the way through their candidate journey or to enable your team to refocus on the human aspects of the hiring process.


We all know shorter Time-to-Hire numbers mean happier hiring managers and new hires alike, and automation is the way forward.


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